If you’re like me, then as a parent, you can often feel overwhelmed. Whenever you’re tending to a task for one family member, inevitably someone else wants or needs your help. You have more “to do” items on your list than you can comfortably manage. On top of all that, you’re supposed to exercise and “eat healthy,” both to take care of yourself and to set a positive example for your children.
Sometimes you might yearn for the days when you were able to spend 1-3 hours at the gym multiple times a week, cook or go out for lengthy meals and still felt like you had downtime to veg out and watch a tv show or two.
Nowadays, things are different. Unless you’re up before the crack of dawn, when you wake, your day is filled with directly caring for or thinking about the care for your children. Workouts are a thing of the past – unless you get in a little stretch or activity when you remember, have the time and the energy. Meals are intermittent – not by design, but rather by happenstance. And they most definitely do not follow any predetermined macronutrient profiles unless it equals 70% carbs, 15% protein and fat, and 100% candy. And sleep. Well, what about it? Let’s just say it’s not what it used to be – in volume or in quality. Aside from these examples, there are so many other ways that your life today is different from how it used to be.
Your approach to fitness needs to be revamped in order to overcome the newer obstacles that weren’t even a “twinkle in your eye” back in the day.
So, when it comes to improving your fitness, ask yourself this:
Are you trying to reintroduce old habits and routines from a past life into your current (unpredictable) lifestyle?
Or are you trying to figure out new habits and routines that are adaptable to the ever-changing needs of your life?
To help you think this through, I’ll use myself as an example. Before I had any children, I spent a lot of time training. You could find me training 5+ days a week, whether I was trying to improve the weights I lifted in the deadlift and squat or working on my technique in various kettlebell lifts. Nowadays, I don’t have that kind of time. I’ve had to reframe my mindset around what aspects of fitness I want and need to improve.
I’m definitely in the stage of exploring new wellness habits and fitness routines that will work with my current ability to commit. I no longer want to get bigger or globally stronger. I feel a strong desire to move better. Why? Because I want to be able to squat or kneel down easily. Because I don’t want to be achy when I go to get up. And because I want to be able to run around and play actively with them for years to come. To me, moving with my kids is an integral way of connecting with them on their level.
Ultimately, I want to set an example of physical autonomy for my kids. So they feel like it’s normal to continue exploring movement as they grow up. I believe that with a movement foundation based in exploration, they’ll approach life believing that anything is possible as long as they try.
Explore the deeper reasons behind your fitness goals. What are you trying to accomplish with your physical wellness? Is it something that benefits you alone, or your family too? Working on this will help change the conversation in your head from “should” to “want to.”